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The Commission’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic FAQs

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) announced on 25 March 2020 its response to the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergencyall general practice accreditation is suspended effective immediately until Australia moves into the ‘recovery’ phase of the pandemic.

The Commission has since collated and responded to a few frequently asked questions and we are pleased to share them here.

How long will my accreditation be suspended?

It is not possible to predict the length of time that general practice accreditation will be suspended under the new arrangements introduced in response to the COVID -19 pandemic. On-site assessments will recommence once the pandemic has entered the recovery phase.

How will assessments be re-introduced when we go into the recovery phase of this pandemic?

When the Australian Government announces the beginning of a recovery phase of the pandemic the Commission will start planning for the recommencement of assessments.

The Commission will calculate the total number of business days between 25 March 2020, when these arrangements become operational, and the start of the recovery phase. A commencement date for assessments will then be announced that takes into consideration the lead-time necessary for the planning and preparation of assessments. This total number of days will be added to your practice’s current accreditation certificate expiry date.

When will I need to schedule my assessment?

Please work with your AGPAL Client Liaison Officer to schedule your assessment so it is completed before the revised accreditation expiry date.

This should be in accordance with Advisory GP18/01 Extensions to the accreditation status to allow up to a total of 90 days (65 business days) for remediation of ‘not met’ indicators at the onsite assessment.

AGPAL has up to 20 business days to complete their final report and this time should be factored into the assessment schedule.

Did the Australian Government Department of Health agree to the changes that have been introduced?

The Commission’s announcement was developed in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Health. For enquiries and information on implementing the NGPA Scheme, contact the Commission’s Advice Centre, email accreditation@safetyandquality.gov.au.

Further information about the Commission’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, can be found on the Commission’s website.

AGPAL is continuing to support the healthcare sector throughout the pandemic

AGPAL is continuing to monitor and provide our clients with relevant information from the Department of Health, regulators, relevant industry bodies and media outlets.

We are offering clients and the broader Australian healthcare sector support in diverse ways. Clients are continuing to contact us with queries and concerns; we are pleased to answer questions or to clarify the Commission’s guidance. Conversations with our clients are an important way we are staying abreast of the myriad challenges the pandemic is bringing to the frontline.

The AGPAL website has the latest COVID-19 financial support information and COVID-19 national updates and advice collated in once place for ease of reference.

The AGPAL webinar schedule offers general practices guidance around standards, policies, procedures, risk management and other business systems; as well information from experts to specifically help our clients through the pandemic.

We welcome your feedback and enquiries. The AGPAL Team is currently working remotely. Clients are contacting their Client Liaison Officer via email in the first instance, which helps us triage requests and optimise service.

For urgent queries, clients are asked to use the AGPAL Group of Companies mobile number, 0467 524 983, which is answered during our usual business hours.